The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Al Carbon

#3: Cemita de Milanesa de Res y Chorizo – Al Carbon

When faced with a decision between two desirable options, I rely on advice from my father: “Why not both?”

The advice has resulted in eating dinner at two restaurants on the same night, as well as a cocktail that marries a Boulevardier and Negroni: a Dad’s Counsel. I also draw on the wisdom when ordering a sandwich at a Mexican restaurant. Typically, more that one of the menu’s fillings appeals to me. So, I ask nicely for two.

Al Carbon is widely known for its Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, marinated in spices and then roasted over coals in an oven imported from Peru. But owners Myriam and Claudio Hernandez hail from Mexico, and it is their Mexican street food that is particularly inspired. Especially the cemita, a sandwich from Claudio’s native region of Puebla. On a round sesame seed roll, Al Carbon piles high heaps of shredded Oaxacan cheese, avocado, adobo chipotle peppers, red onions, a slice of ham, and the filling of your choice. Milanesa de res is an excellent option: beef pounded thin, breaded and fried. Also delicious is Al Carbon’s house-made chorizo. But, best of all is to follow Dad’s counsel and combine them both. The result is a sandwich as flavorful as any in town. 

#3: Cemita de Milanesa de Res y Chorizo – Al Carbon
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Vegetarian Alternative: Vegetarian Cemita at Al Carbon

Five Finds on Friday: Claudia Cruz

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Claudia Cruz of Dulce De Leche. Among the silver linings of the pandemic, Dulce De Leche is a delivery-only bakery offering “handmade Peruvian sweets.” As Cruz works on her elementary education degree and cares for her two young boys, COVID-19 prompted her to launch her own business. Customers may order on Facebook or Instagram, or by texting (434) 989-9036. After sampling her baked goods, James Beard semifinalist Angelo Vangelopoulos of Ivy Inn pronounced: “Soooo good.” Cruz’s picks:

1) La Familia Chicken from Al Carbon. “It is very nice to choose for the whole family. We usually order La Familia size chicken after having a long day from work. It reminds us of our rotisserie chicken from back home, Peru.”

2) East Coast from Burger Bach. “When looking for a place for a good burger there is no doubt there are multiple places in Charlottesville, but my favorite burger is located here. The flavors of this sweet and salty burger are out of the world. Not to mention with my favorite cheese, brie, mixed with my favorite fruit, blueberries. Say no more, I will be there in a blink of an eye if possible.”

3) Shrimp Tacos from Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant (UVa location). “I’m kind of embarrassed to say but I don’t venture out with tacos, I only order shrimp tacos in every Mexican restaurant. Therefore, the shrimp tacos from this restaurant are absolutely amazing, with fresh cabbage and crème cilantro lime sauce. Delish.”

4) Shrimp Tempura Sushi from Snowfox Sushi (Inside Kroger, Barracks Road). “It’s a little-known secret but the sushi in Kroger is actually made by franchise owners of Snowfox Sushi. This means that the sushi chefs are free to get creative and bring their knowledge when it comes to making the best sushi possible. One of our best friends owns this location and is one of the best sushi chefs we have ever met.”

5) BLT on Everything from Bodo’s. “Nothing like a good bagel with hot coffee to start your day. We enjoy this Charlottesville staple very much. No matter how long the line is, it is worth the wait.”

Pionono. A soft, rolled cake filled with dulce de leche, traditionally sold on the streets of Peru.

Five Finds on Friday: Debbie Ward-McKeon

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from reader Debbie Ward-McKeon. In celebration of the Culture of Takeout, all autumn long Five Finds on Friday features readers selected at random in weekly drawings. Also part of the prize is a $100 restaurant gift certificate, like Ward-McKeon’s to Petit Pois. Check back Monday, November 23 to enter next week’s drawing, which includes a $100 gift certificate to Conmole. Ward-McKeon’s favorites from the Culture of Takeout:

1) Grilled Local Pork with Spatzle, Kale from Petit Pois. “Local pork straight from Autumn Olive Farms. Follow Petit Pois online to see daily menus. If you see coq au vin, head over for lunch, dinner, or take out. Check out Land by Hand. I ordered the Chef’s Share for my kitchen. So many choices.”

2) Chiles Toreados y Cebollitas from Al Carbon. “It’s an art to elevate the vegetables. A side dish of whole spicy jalapeños grilled with fat white onion bulbs still attached to their green tops. Take home two orders. They are just as delicious the next day. You know about the Al Carbon chicken. I order enough dark meat for two days.”

3) Peasant Beef & Pork Bolognese from Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar. “Start with a Negroni made with Bombay gin, Dolin sweet vermouth, Campari, and an orange twist. Followed by angus beef & Duroc pork, pomodoro, chili flakes, and cream swirled into a Bolognese married to rigatoni. Finish with olive oil and rosemary cake with lemon curd and whipped cream. Select table side or curbside service. Sign up for Orzo emails which include the new Passport Menu.”

4) Melanzane Alla Parmigiana from Tavola. “I like Tavola’s courses served family style. Order takeout online and serve it up at home.

Antipasti misti for 2: a selection of artisanal cheeses and cured meats, olives, grilled artichokes and pickled sweet peppers.
Paste: Pappardelle Bolognese, a tender house made pasta, with a local beef and pork Bolognese sauce topped with grana padano.
Entrata: Melanzane alla parmigiana, layering of breaded eggplant, San Marzano tomatoes, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and basil.”

5) Apple Brioche with Pastry Cream from Albemarle Baking Company. “Apple brioche is always first on my pastry takeout list. Currant scones, baked currant doughnuts, and cinnamon buns follow the brioche. Throw in an oatmeal raisin cookie which is unlike any oatmeal cookie I have ever eaten. Pack it all up and take it home.”

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